I’ve been in India twice, but I’ve yet to visit Goa. The fabled hippie paradise is definitely on my list, though. I’m especially curious about Goan spices and food and imagine it’s a mixture of Indian and Portuguese, both delicious. Here, Edel Flood tells all about three spice plantations I – and you – can enjoy.
Goa’s spice plantations provide more than just an afternoon’s diversion from the beach, much more!
The farms grow a variety of crops: vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, chilli, curry leaves, turmeric, cloves, ginger, black pepper and nutmeg, as well as mangoes, papayas, bimbli, breadfruits, pineapples and jackfruits. Read on to find out which spice plantation might be right for your Goan holiday and what to expect there.
Savoi Spice Plantation – near Panaji and Ponda
The Savoi Spice Plantation is one of the oldest in Goa and the owners pride themselves on showing their guests a good time: in addition to a traditional welcome with drinks and snacks, expect to be wreathed in garlands of flowers.
After you’ve settled in and met your guide, you’ll explore the fields and groves of spice trees. Main crops include cloves, nutmeg, stone star spice, pineapples, jackfruits and pammello – a relative of the grapefruit, but with a sweeter flavour.
You’ll hear about the different types of flora, their history, how they are cultivated and how they can be used. Some plants have medicinal properties as well as strong flavours. You’ll even have an opportunity to swing between the branches of the betel nut tree, trying to pick nuts as you go!
In the evening, you can return to the plantation for a delicious home-cooked meal with all the fresh spices and flavours of Goan cooking. Folk dancing is part of the evening’s entertainment.
Sahakari Spice Farm – near Ponda
At Sahakari Spice Farm, traditional methods mixed with modern farming techniques ensure the plants get the best possible care. Water conservation is an important part of the process, replicating the conditions experienced during the rainy season for much of the year.
Education is important to the owners; expect your tour to include plenty of useful information. You’ll see vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, chilli, curry leaves and pepper – and learn their practical applications in cooking and medicine.
As at the Savoi Plantations, you can test your Tarzan skills between the betel nut trees. Also, women and children on the farm perform traditional Fugdi, Jagor and Dhalo dances. For an extra-special treat, you can wash and ride the plantation’s three elephants.
Pascoal Organic Spice Village – near Khandepar and Ponda
Main crops in the Pascoal plantation are coconut, cashew and areca nuts, with spice plants cultivated between groves of trees. What makes this plantation stand out is its location on the banks of a river, which means you can pedal boat and raft!
As at the other spice plantations, expect an extensive educational tour. Do visit the restaurant for traditional Goan fare served in earthenware pots, coconut shell bowls and on banana leaves. Numerous vegetarian dishes are on offer, and usually seafood and chicken, too.
This post is brought to you in cooperation with Jewel in the Crown holidays. Photo credits: RobRyb, Dey and tdietmut
I could probably be a vegetarian in this country since they use so much spices in their cooking. And the colors make it all that much more appealing. Sahakari Spice Farm sound like a socially responsible farm. While Savoi Spice Plantation sounds like a fun place to visit. And either one of them probably has great food. Lucky you.
So much delicious veggie food in India.
Could be great to visit a spice plantation. I’ve only seen the gigantic chili fields being harvested.
Sounds like a fun and interesting experience, seeing the chili harvest.
I have heard so much about the nice parties in Goa! My husband has been there with his friends last year, and he has shown me some nice photos form beach parties. That must have been such a nice experience to dance around the fire. Really spiritual.
I’ve heard lots of fun stories from Goa, too. Parties seem to be an integral part of a visit here.
Would love a visit to a spice plantation too but haven’t decided if I can deal with the hustle and bustle that is India. Perhaps one day.
India can be challenging, I think – especially if you’re from a country with much more space than people (like Norway – and Canada).
Goa is one of those places everyone has to visit sometime.
The beaches are some of the finest you’ll ever find, the culture is amazing and the food, oh wow the food – Seafood wonderland, and all dressed with the fabulous spices the region is famous for.
I’ll definitely be looking up Pascoal on my next visit in December.
(By the way, this is a perfect spot for Christmas)
I’ve been in India in November and December, and the temperature is very bearable then, so Christmas is probably a good time to visit Goa.
Wow, what an amazing experience. I’d love to see all of those spices in their natural habitat and not just in bottles in my cabinet. Beautiful!
I had always thought of Goa as simply a beach destination but this really appeals to me.
Sounds like an interesting experience.. beautiful colours, stunning pictures!
Not only do spices taste incredibly good, they are also beautiful to look at! A spice tour in Goa sounds like an excellent activity.
I love to cook, particularly ethnic foods, so this seems like it would be a really interesting and useful experience! Love the pictures of the colorful spices by the way.
Nice to see you explore the spices in Goa.